A four-year-old boy was mauled to death by a pack of stray dogs in the south Indian state of Andhra Pradesh.

The incident happened on Thursday (21 September) in Guntur district of the state when Dupati Prem Kumar was playing outside his house. The young victim was suddenly attacked by the animals, who rushed at him and started biting him on his neck, chest, hands, legs and face.

When Kumar started screaming for help, his mother Malleswari – who was nearby – tried to stop the canines by pelting stones at them.

A few bystanders also came to the child's rescue. But by then, the four strays had severely injured the boy, the Deccan Chronicle newspaper reported.

He was so badly injured that when people tried to revive him, he did not respond. Kumar was soon rushed to the emergency ward of the Government General Hospital in the area, where doctors declared him dead.

Kumar's distraught mother told reporters, "I had complained to the GMC [Guntur Municipal Corporation] officials about the stray dogs recently. However, I never felt the dogs would kill my son.

"I am shocked my son was killed by the dogs. I am most unfortunate, I lost my son."

As news of the attack spread, local administrators came to the spot where the incident had occured to inquire about the tragedy.

Municipal Commissioner of Guntur, Challa Anuradha, said, "I will order an inquiry into the incident. After getting an inquiry report, I will take further action.

"As per rules, we are sterilising the dogs. So far, we have sterilised 2,235 dogs in the city. Two dog squads are patrolling the city and catching them. We have also constructed a hospital for sterilising the dogs."